I searched in a lot of tags already but was wondering if there was a specific tag that would go more in depth for black hair in post-apoclyptic settings. I only found one post. I'm specifically looking for care and maintainance of 4b hair, and styles that would be best for a fallout universe situation, as well as styles that would be most likely based off of the 1950's and what to take into consideration when one goes from having the means to take care of hair to suddenly no clean water
Black Hairstyles for the Apocalypse II: Post-Nuclear
For a situation like the Fallout game universe, post-nuclear with limited/no clean water, I can only reinforce what has already been said in Black Hairstyles for the Apocalypse; a character with afro hair would need those dependable protective styles on lock down (braids, dreadlocks, etc. look up and take your pick of protective natural styles), more so with little to no safe water to dip her head into.
AFRO HAIR CARE RESEARCH
Everything you read up on regarding afro hair’s needs is still relevant; Black hair generally needs lots of moisture and protection.
Afro hair routines tend to involve a lot of water, oils, gels, butters and creams. You mention the character’s hair type is 4b, but hair type isn’t even the most important factor when it comes to Black hair maintenance. 4A, 4B, AC, or a mixture of– these numbers are more of a general assessment of what that hair type looks like, needs and reacts, but every individual is different. Hair width, density, and porosity is super, if not more important. Research, research, research. This information is quite accessible nowadays.
My favorite natural hair site is www.naturallycurly.com/. Pinterest has an addictive mash-up of natural hair tips, info and DIY solutions too. Note that doesn’t mean everything is relevant to your character, or even accurate so i’d check with other sources on any information you find.
Important Takeaway: Water to moisturize + Oil to keep it in.
Hair needs water (or water-based moisturizer, typically referred to as leave-in conditioner) to moisturize, and oil to seal it in lest it deplete rapidly (take it from me; my hair gulps down any bit of moisture it gets).
Most oils do not moisturize by themselves because it cannot penetrate the hair shaft (save a privileged few like coconut oil).
Research key terms: natural hair + moisturizing/sealing, L.O.C. method
If your character has a protective style in most of the time, i’d also be researching “natural hair care with [x].” Though hair needs lessen, they do not disappear.
SOLUTIONS IN NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE
Depending on what resources can be scraped up, there may be opportunity to make or find items that would work as extra hair protection that add and seal in moisture, or even a silk scarf or bandana for extra coverage and for sleeping.
Whether a character does come across these things is mostly out of their control, so the protection that comes with a long-term style like braids is the main tool they’d have to rely on.
As for the 1950s: If this is America, you could look up African American hairstyles in the 50s but the popular styles you’ll see will likely be unfitting for the apocalypse, especially one of this nature. Straight, loosened-textured looks for afro hair won’t thrive well and will be sweated out to one’s natural state quickly, plus their hair weakened from the straightening process.
However, there were some braided styles popular in the 50s (unspecific to Black people) that could be done for afro hair and would serve as protection.
For example: the “crown braid” comes up a lot in a quick search (See the image above). Not sure how much one would care to style their hair to stay “with the time’s” in this situation, but that’s for you to work out.
Protection is the key here. Reliable long-term styles like braids that tuck in the ends endure breakage and tangling way more than any free-flowing style. It’s that low manipulation and vulnerability to the elements (and hands) that’s key.
For other maintenance questions, do your research and see what you come up with in terms of what the character may scavenge and make do with.